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July 28, 2022

Chargé d'affaires Ellen Thorburn 4th of July Remarks .

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,

Ministers, representatives of the Government of Chad, Chiefs of Mission and representatives of the diplomatic missions in Chad, Defense attaches, distinguished guests and friends…  All protocols Observed…

Thank you all for coming this evening, and welcome to our celebration of the United States’ Independence Day.

To me, the American Independence Day represents beginnings and possibilities.  The United States is a nation defined by constant renewal and reinvention, guided by fundamental, founding principles. Reflecting on our history, I am struck by the possibilities and challenges that our founders faced, and were able to overcome, by adherence to these virtues. So, as an American, representing the United States Government in Chad, I am honored for this opportunity to celebrate with you now, because I see Chad taking the first steps of a new beginning, one filled with a great many possibilities.

Over the last year, U.S. engagement has focused on ensuring a political transition comprised of an inclusive national dialogue; a new constitution; and credible, transparent, timely elections that lead to civilian rule.  My team at the Embassy has worked diligently to support the people of Chad in moving towards those goals. Our work together continues, guided by principles and virtues, for the better governance and prosperity of the Chadian people. Chad’s new beginning must follow the will of the people, and it is the responsibility of the Transitional Military Council (CMT) to hold to their commitments to the citizens of Chad , including that members of the CMT will not run in the upcoming election and that the CMT will adhere to a swift transition period, with democratic elections as the mark of the CMT’s successful work.

The United States continues its commitment to contribute to strengthening Chad’s democracy, anti-corruption efforts, and respect for human rights, in line with core American values.

We will sustain our emphasis on rule of law, human rights, and accountability, as well as focus Embassy efforts on strengthening civilian institutions that enable Chad’s transitional government to become more responsive to its citizens. Our strong working relationships with host nation law enforcement and security institutions, and with international partners, are the main means in which we support improving human rights.

The United States is Chad’s partner in the transition; we want it to succeed. We recognize the challenging but rewarding work towards completion of the Pre-Dialogue in Doha and share your anticipation at the successful start of the National Dialogue. Alongside the unwavering support the United States will provide, I offer a word of caution, too. With so many elements of Chadian society involved in the dialogue and generations of entrenched power centers vying to gain concessions favorable to them, to right past wrongs, or retain power, the talks will fail unless every party keeps in mind the National aspect of the National Dialogue. If every group participating in the dialogue works towards a compromise, no one group, or faction will get all it seeks. But Chad will achieve peace, stability, and prosperity.

The United States is no stranger to struggling with social and political challenges. You will have noticed that flying in front of my residence is a multi-colored flag known as a “Pride Flag,” which represents the unity of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer social movements since 1978. It is a symbol of the struggle that human beings who are not in the mainstream of society have undergone to obtain for themselves the basic human rights and the recognition of their inherent dignity that others take for granted. I raised it two days ago in honor of pride month, but more particularly to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York. They were a horrific, violent clash between people seeking to be free and an old, repressive system seeking to oppress others. And we recently marked the second anniversary of Juneteenth. Last year President Biden established June 19th as a national holiday to mark the late, but final abolishment of slavery in the United States. We still grapple with issues caused by our history with slavery. These are controversial in the United States, even today. But as a nation based on the idea that all people are equal, the United States champions the pursuit of greater freedom and equality. No matter the causes may be resented and resisted. We champion the right of everyone to fundamental freedoms and rights.

Chad’s large youth population provides an enthusiastic audience for our activities, especially English-language programs and exchanges. These youth are Chad’s future, so we invest in them. On two television monitors to my right and towards the back on my left you will see greetings from past participants of our many, many exchange alumni from the many programs we support, and exchanges we created at the U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena specifically in support of Chad. We asked them to send us videos wishing us a Happy Independence Day. Their response was wonderful. But I especially wanted to show the videos to you, our guests, to demonstrate our commitment to Chad, to your youth, to your future.

Over the next several days you may see news of our visiting jazz ensemble, the Tim Armacost Quartet, from New York. They are here tonight: Kenny Davis on bass, Rudy Royston on drums, Steve Cardenas on guitar and Tim Armacost on tenor saxophone.  They will perform in Ndjamena, and work with young Chadian musicians for the next few days, enhancing our people-to-people relationships. I would like to that my team, for their hard work over the past year to support Chad’s transition – and for putting this lovely event together.   And – a big thank you, to all of you, for helping us celebrate the founding of the United States.